Protests politically motivated: Tamil Nadu CM

Opposition parties are pressurising govt to rollback bus fare revision'.

Chennai: Terming the protests against the bus fare hike “politically motivated” Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami has claimed that Opposition parties wanted to exert “pressure” on his government and ensure a rollback of the enhanced fares.

Reacting to protests by Opposition DMK and its allies and also MDMK's road blockade in the capital, the Chief Minister said the government had partially rolled back the hiked fares in deference to the wishes expressed by the people and the opposition parties. Contending that the fare revision was “inevitable” as the state transport corporations were making losses, Mr Palaniswami, along with Deputy Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam, while speaking to reporters here on Monday, blamed the DMK for instigating protests across the state.

He said when DMK demitted office in 2011, the transport corporations had Rs 3,392.15 crore debt. At that time, the payout pending for retirees was Rs 922.24 crore and for in-service personnel, it was Rs 1,528.05 crore besides 112 properties of transport corporations were mortgaged. Despite these factors, the government refrained from going in for a hike for six long years.

“Neighbouring states like Kerala and Karnataka gradually hiked the bus fares, but we have hiked the bus fare after a gap of six years to tide over the financial losses,” Mr Palaniswami said. Even after the recent hike, the transport corporations would be incurring a loss of Rs 4 crore per day as the diesel and spare parts prices have increased manifold.

“Which administration is better - the one which caused losses or the one trying to bring down the losses left by the previous DMK rule?” he asked and added that the AIADMK government had disbursed Rs 922 crore for the retirees — the sum which the DMK had put on hold.

He also pointed out that students get free bus passes for which the government paid Rs 541 crore to the transport corporations annually.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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